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5 Benefits Of Cupping Therapy Everyone Should Know!

If you've been watching the Olympics, you've probably noticed the dark red circles many athletes are sporting on their backs and arms. Y'know, like this:
Image: Getty Images Image: Getty Images
Despite how it might look, that swimmer didn't suddenly decide to become a living tribute to pizza by tattooing pepperoni on her back. No, those are the marks left behind from a practice called 'cupping.' It's actually been around for thousands of years; early references can be found as far back as 3000 B.C. It wasn't until recently that cupping came to the attention of us Westerners.

What Is It?

Cupping is pretty much what it sounds like. Cups – made from plastic or glass – are placed over skin for the purpose of expanding capillaries and increasing the flow of fluid in skin tissues. In some cases, small incisions are made to draw blood into the cup. Why would anyone want to do this? What does it accomplish? Great questions! Let's explore, shall we?

5 Reasons To Try Cupping Therapy

#1 – Pain Relief

shutterstock_95679289 A number of studies have shown that cupping provides pain relief by increasing blood flow to damaged tissue. The blood brings with it nutrients, oxygen and – most importantly – vital energy that passes through the injured area. This has even proven effective at relieving pain in cancer patients.

#2 – Relaxation

Let's face it. No matter how hard you try to relax, you're just not going to get there if your muscles are tight and sore. Enter cupping therapy! It works to loosen muscles like no other form of massage can – with negative pressure. And the benefits don't stop once your muscles are relaxed; no, my friend, they're only just beginning! You see, cupping works along the lines of your body's meridians. A trained expert will position the cups in a way that opens these meridians, allowing vital energy to flow through them. Through this, your entire body and mind can be cleared of blockages for totalrelaxation.

#3 – Faster Healing

shutterstock_15216613 Is it any wonder Olympic athletes are so crazy for cupping? Coach Brandi Ross has found success performing cupping on his patients for more than a year now. According to him, the practice treats almost any injury – including plantar fasciitis. It works by inducing inflammation. I know, it sounds bad. But inflammation is actually your body's defense mechanism against injury. It occurs when your body sends a rush of blood cells and protein to the injured area in an effort to help it heal.

#4 – Relief Of Skin Blemishes

Fed up with cellulite, acne, eczema or age-related skin marks? You'll love cupping! The practice boosts the circulation of blood in your body. This ensures that your muscles and tissues are saturated with nutrient-rich blood, increasing the production of collagen – a protein responsible for keeping muscles and tissues healthy. A number of studies have shown that cupping is more effective at treating skin conditions like acne than antibiotics and other medications.

#5 – Relief Of Digestive Disorders

Stress tends to build up in the abdominal area – which is no good, considering much of your digestive system lives there. Thankfully, cupping works to reduce the stress in this area and induce movement. This can work wonders for relieving conditions like IBS, diarrhea, water retention and frequent stomach pain.

Want to learn more about how cupping works? Check out this video!

Do you think you'd like to try cupping? Awesome! Be sure to seek the services of a licensed and trained individual in a sanitary setting. Check out this resource to find a reputable provider near you. Sources: Scientific American Dr. Axe